Friday, August 29, 2008
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Monday, August 4, 2008
So it's Sunday morning and we've been anxious to get out and get some sailing in and we're ready to go. The weather is quite nice - 80 degrees F and a comfortable 10 - 15 knots of wind. We're all set to go... yet there's one last chore. The holding tanks are almost full and we need to get that taken care of.
For those of you not familiar with the specifics, boats have holding tanks to collect the sewage from the toilets. When they get full you need to "drop off the brown trout at the turd aquarium" (thanks John). This involves motoring over to the pump-out dock, tying up, unscrewing the cap on the deck that leads to the holding tank and stuffing the end of a 2 inch diameter hose with a rubber nozzle into the hole. The rubber end of the nozzle is supposed to give you enough of a seal to allow a pump on the other end of the hose to sluuuuuurrrrrrp the brown trout out of the holding tank and send it off to the the municipal sewer. It is a quick process and isn't USUALLY as gross as it might seem. When we're offshore we can just dump it to sea by turning a valve on the bottom of the tank inside the boat, but that's not possible in the Bay (or the Great Lakes).
We had a holding tank on our power boat so I was familiar with the process and had executed the "stuff and slurp" maneuver without incident on many occasions. So, with great confidence we untied from our dock and motored over to the pumpout station and docked without incident. (Ok, so I might have preferred to do this during a weekday when there weren't bunches of onlookers to view what was my second attempt to dock Mirasol, again with the wind blowing off the dock. Use your imagination and don't snicker too loudly - it's not nice.)
So there I was, all set to pump out the tanks and head for the Bay. The cap was unscrewed and the vacuum hose was stuffed into the hole. Now a quick turn of the valve on the hose and let the vacuum sluuuuurrrrp our brown trout off to the sewer. All very simple and tidy, right? Well, to my dismay, no. Not so tidy.
As it happened the vacuum on this particular pumpout station was powerful enough to suck an elephant through the hose. So, when I flipped the valve wide open, the contents of our holding tank shot up the tube between our holding tank and the access hole in the deck like the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami. Now, it's interesting to note that the tube between the holding tank and the deck access port is 4 inches in diameter. As I mentioned earlier, the vacuum hose is 2 inches in diameter. Those of you with a physics background may see the flaw in this arrangement...
When the Turd Tsunami slammed into the bottleneck of the vacuum hose which I had stuffed into the access port, it overwhelmed my efforts to hold it in place and shot out around the rubber gasket and sprayed yours truly up the leg, across the chest, and to my complete disgust, right in the face. Sadly, my mouth was NOT firmly shut.
I had a strong desire to throw up. Jump in the water. Run screaming down the dock to the marina shower. But no, as I had foolishly selected a weekend to pump out, there were a couple of other boats at the dock and I had an audience. Composure must be maintained! So, with a shudder and a grimace I let the turbo-powered vacuum complete it's job and focused on not swallowing and not vomiting. The nice young lady supervising the pumpout dock courteously noted that most people find it works better if you crack the valve open until the turds start flowing, and THEN open the valve wide.
Useful, if somewhat delinquent information.
I thanked her politely and asked if she could please pass me the water hose.
Once we had undocked and motored out into the Bay, I quickly rinsed my mouth with about 4 gallons of water and a shot of mouthwash, shed my fowled clothing and scrubbed my face, arms and legs. With soap.
LOTS of soap.